Sage Spirit Blog

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6 Traits of Amazing Mentors (and why you need one)


Today we have a guest blog post from Deirdre Danahar of InMotion Consulting & Coaching. I met Deirdre many years ago when we worked for sister regional centers under federal contract. She worked in the Southern region, and me in the West. Yet there were times when we would get to see each other, especially at national events. As one of life’s amazing synchronicities, Deirdre began transitioning into her coaching career at the same time that I did, as we both found out at a chance meeting at some conference, in some city, in some state… who knows where we were! But we were both so excited! Not long after that, we began to work with a common coach doing small group sessions to support us all in creating our coaching business while refining our coaching skills. During those days, I had many opportunities to experience Deirdre’s coaching, and I have to say that I love love love her style! Deirdre blogs very regularly, and I always enjoy what she shares. Today, I would like to share Deirdre and one of her November posts with you on traits of amazing mentors. I know that so many of you fill this role, formally and informally. May you enjoy InJoy!

Thank you Deirdre! I am so honored and blessed to know you!

6 Traits of Amazing Mentors (and why you need one)

by Deirdre Danahar, Posted on November 6, 2013

This year I joined a mastermind group and am fortunate to have found an amazing one. We serve as a lovingly honest advisory board for one and other. This group of folks cares more about being kind (willing to point out “the good”, “the bad” and the “what the heck?”) than being nice (for the sake of avoiding creative conflict and therefore growth).

Being in the group is like standing in the middle of a circle of mentors; at times a little intense and uncomfortable but worth the scrutiny. We challenge each other to. . .

Ferret out the very best ideas out of all the ones we dream up.

To see failures as a temporary, if a wee painful, experience from which we can still extract something useful (won’t do that again, but will do this).

To give credit where it’s due.

To walk in time to our own drums and welcome others to join the journey through our businesses.

And to sometimes to just keep moving forward.

I ask you, who could not use a person (or group of people) like that in life?

Mentors Help Us Be Our Best Selves

Good mentors understand the difference between inspiring guidance and the ability to coerce others to “do-what-I-say”. They set an example by using their best traits to direct their efforts and their tribes. They set a pace and will nudge you forward, if you let them.

And the very best mentors share 6 traits I see reflected in my mastermind group.

6 Traits of Amazing Mentors

Passionate and Clear Point of View. A distinct voice and viewpoint that they passionately embrace without coming off crazed. They know why they do what they do and it shows.

Mindful Listening. A world-class ability to listen deeply, they hear what you don’t say, as much as what you do say. They notice your feelings and thoughts and catch the nuances – even when you are on the phone. They don’t judge and help you make sense of what’s going on in your head, heart and gut.

Honesty. They carry a suitcase of integrity at all times. What they say is true. How they act aligns with what they say are their values. They say what needs to be said, especially when it is hard, to spur deep learning and effective action.

Zest. They expect the best and confidently work for that to be the case. They enthusiastically embody a “you can do it, it can be even better” attitude that spreads to those around them. It’s not a put on- it is part of who they are.

Warm Regard for Others. They genuinely care about what they do and the people in their lives, including their teams. They consistently find small ways to let this show without being sappy. They hold people accountable in the spirit of compassion and what they see as the potential being missed.

Modesty without Undervaluing. Self-assured without being a blowhard or devaluing what they have to offer they confidently step back and find ways to help others shine.


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